Villiers De Lisle-Adam, Philippe Augusts Mathias De

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Villiers De L’isle-Adam, Philippe Augusts Mathias De


Born Nov. 7, 1838, in Saint-Brieuc, Brittany, died Aug. 19, 1889, in Paris. Count; French writer.

Villiers published the collection First Poems in 1858. His disgust with the bourgeoisie and his rebellious moods in the dramas Morgane (1866) and Rebellion (1870) and the novel Claire Lenoir (1867) drew him close to the Paris communards. Remaining in besieged Paris in 1871, he wrote articles in the Commune’s press, greeting “the birth of a new age.” The defeat of the Commune stained his creativity with pessimism and mysticism. In the dramas Axel (parts 1-2, 1872-86) and A New Light (presented in 1883), in the novel Eve of the Future (1886), and in his best works—the collections Cruel Tales (1883), New Cruel Tales (1888), and Unusual Stories (1888)—satirical antibourgeois grotesqueness is combined with a romantic apology for reverie. The brilliant satirical type Tribulat Bonhomet, a complacent, vulgar person, demagogue, and coward, is depicted in a number of stories (Tribulat Bonhomet, separate collection, 1887). Bonhomet personifies the impoverishment of spiritual culture in bourgeois society. In Villiers’s satires the humorous borders on the terrifying. He was capable of contrasting solitary dreamers to the bourgeoisie’s sadistic cruelty and hostility to virtue, beauty, and art.


Oeuvres complètes, vols. 1-11. Paris, 1914-31.
Contes cruels et autres histoires. Compiled with an introduction by
N. Rykova. Moscow, 1966.
In Russian translation:
Sobr. soch., vols. 1-3. Moscow, 1911.
Zhestokie passkazy- Introductory article by V. la. Briusova. Moscow [1909].
Novelly. In Frantsuzskaia novella 19 veka, vol. 2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1959.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 3. Moscow, 1959.
Raitt, A. W. Villiers de I’lsle-Adam et le mouvement symboliste. Paris [1965]. (Bibliography.)


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